Owners Jesse Van Note and Andrew Ross became friends working together at an Asheville brewery many years ago. There was no shortage of beer around them at all times, but they still felt like something was missing in Asheville.
After many bottle shares and late nights, the idea of a craft beer collective came about; a place that brought all the best beers from around the world under one roof.
They opened The Whale :: A Craft Beer Collective as the first and original location in West Asheville in 2017. After the Whale AVL popped off, folks encouraged Jesse and Ross to expand their vision and they opened the Greenville location in 2019. Jesse had been playing shows in Greenville for years with his band Bask, and took a liking to the area. While the basic concept of the two bars is similar, they have a different look, feel, and menu from one another. While they are only an hour away from each other, you can have a completely different experience at each location. Despite the differences, you will find some of the trademark features at all Whale locations, like a huge Whale skeleton hanging overhead.
The Whale CHS was born in September of 2021 as the third addition to the family. The Whale AVL’s longtime general manager, Jesse Mellinger, relocated to the coast to run the new spot. Hosting Zwanze Day as their epic grand opening, the Whale CHS hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back.
“A craft beer collective is something we spent a lot of time thinking about,” he says. “Most of our friends work in craft beer, and when we set out to do this, we wanted to approach it from a perspective of gathering the ideas about what we were lacking as a community and creating a space we all wanted to hang out in. We want to create something approachable, friendly, and also an elevated drinking experience.